I really enjoyed the TV programme Monty Hall’s Great Escape, earlier this year. Applecross sounded like a good plan given the good weather forecast. I wasn’t to be disappointed.

Hill: Beinn Bhan
Date: Friday 29th May 2009
Company: Myself and Beinn
Time: 5 Hours
Dog friendly: Yes

I set off from home at 4:30am on Friday, arriving at the Tornapress starting point by 08:00am. The temperature gauge in the car was already reading 19C. There is parking for three or four cars beside the bridge over the River Kishorn. We set off along a good path that runs parallel to the River Kishorn.

Path alongside River Kishorn:

After about a mile of walking, we began to see the amazing toposcopey of Beinn Bhan.

Beinn Bhan:

Beinn Bhan is such a long and complex mountain that I couldn’t fit the whole mountain into one photo. I therefore decided to take a few pictures and stitch them together when I got home.

Beinn Bhan stitched panorama:

We continued to follow the path with a view to cutting-off towards Lochan Coire na Poite. However, I was enjoying the scenery so much that I must have missed the turn-off. I only realised this when Loch Gaineamhach appeared in front of us.

Loch Gaineamhach:

From Loch Gaineamhach, we ascended slopes of heather. After nearly 100m of ascent we reached a flat area and took a line towards Coire an Fhamair. I recalled some discussion about the ascent of A’Chioch being a hard scramble / easy rock climb. Not sure where the easy ascent is as it all looked quite hard.


Looking towards Coire na Poite:

Lochan Coire na Poite:

Anyway, Beinn can’t scramble or climb so we made for Coire an Fhamair, where there is an easy (but steep) ascent up grass onto the ridge.

Coire an Fhamair:

About two-thirds of the way up the coire there are some weathered sandstone towers.

Sandstone towers in Coire an Fhamair:

The next two photos provide some idea of how steep the ascent is.

Looking down from Coire an Fhamair (A’Chioch on right):

Looking down on A’Chioch from steep slopes of Coire an Fhamair:

Impressive rockface:

On reaching the ridge, I was really surprised at how wide it was. Plenty of width to keep well-away from the sheer vertical drops into Beinn Bhan’s various coires.

Reaching the wide ridge above Coire an Fhamair:

Looking back towards Loch na Beinne Baine:

After just over a kilometre of easy walking we arrived at the summit.

Approaching summit shelter of Beinn Bhan:

Summit of Beinn Bhan (Sgurr a’Chaorachain in background):

We stopped at the summit for around fifteen minutes to admire the views and re-hydrate. Stupidly, I hadn’t bothered with sun-screen and was beginning to feel my nose and head burning. So it was also on with the sunhat. Beinn was really feeling the heat too. We decided to return to the car via the South-East ridge. Not long after leaving the summit we started to get fine views across to Sgurr a’Chaorachain and the Classic Rock climb Cioch Nose. I have always fancied doing this climb. Now I have seen it, I’m not so sure. It looks much harder than VDiff!

Sgurr a’Chaorachain [and Cioch nose and ridge] (zoomed):

Looking down on Loch Coire nan Arr:

Descending to 763m top:

After passing the 763m top it was pretty-much just a walk down grassy slopes, trying to avoid as many of the sandstone boulders as possible.

Myself and Beinn:

Loch Kishorn:

Beinn Bhan is a seriously good hill. After finishing Beinn Bhan, I drove round to Applecross via the incredible road over the Bealach na Ba. It is worth heading for Applecross just to experience this road. On arriving in Applecross, I pitched up the tent and then went for a look around Applecross. The Applecross campsite is clean, very reasonably priced (only £6.50 pppn) and they sell superb, but not so reasonably-priced, pizzas. However, by evening the campsite was seriously over-crowded.

Accommodation (Applecross campsite):

I was almost drooling looking across at the Cuillin, reminiscing of the week we spent there at this time last year.

The Cuillin from Applecross Bay:

Applecross from across the bay:

The Cuillin:

I have to give the Applecross Inn five stars for food, service and good-value. Beinn was welcome in the Inn and was given a bowl of water. I was a bit disappointed that the scallops were finished but had the haddock instead. It was SUPERB!

Applecross Inn:

After dinner, I headed along the coast in search of Beachcomber Cottage, where the TV series Monty Hall’s Great Escape was based. (According to a letter from Monty Hall, on the wall of the Applecross Inn, there is likely going to be a second series based in the Hebrides)

Beachcomber Cottage (Monty Hall’s bothy):

How good would it be to stay here?

Beachcomber Cottage and Beach:

Hill: Sgurr a’Chaorachain
Date: Saturday 30th May 2009
Company: Myself and Beinn
Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Dog friendly: Yes

After packing up the tent this morning and waiting for the campsite gate to be unlocked at 07:00, we headed back up to the Bealach na Ba viewpoint for an ascent of Sgurr a’Chaorachain. The SMC Corbett book indicates 1hr 30mins to reach the summit. We got to the summit and back to the car in 1hr 45mins and it didn’t seem like we were going that fast. Bealach na Ba

Viewpoint indicator:

776m top of Sgurr a’Chaorachain from Bealach na Ba Viewpoint:

The ascent to the 776m top is quite dull. However, after passing this top it is a really pleasant walk to the main summit with some incredible views for the amount of effort involved.

Approaching 776m top:

Ridge from 776m top towards summit:

Summit of Sgurr a’Chaorachain from 776m top:

Looking back:

Coire a’Chaorachain:

From reading previous reports, I was aware that there was a rocky tower to go over (or around) en-route to the summit. I wasn’t sure if Beinn would be able to do this. However, we found that the ascent of the tower is just a walk and the descent down the other side is basically just a walk too.

Sandstone tower (ascent):

Sandstone tower (descent):

Looking towards summit of Sgurr a’Chaorachain:

Cioch Nose and Ridge:

Looking back along ridge:

At the summit we stopped for a quick photo and drink before returning to the car.

Beinn bagging the cairn:

It would be quite straight-forward to combine an ascent of Beinn Bhan with an ascent of Sgurr a’Chaorachain. For anyone interested in doing this, here is a photo of the ridge between the two.

Ridge linking Beinn Bhan and Sgurr a’Chaorachain:

I deliberately did not ascend the one Graham that is in Applecross. Gives me a good excuse to go back.